• Legis Scriptor

State Of Andhra Pradesh vs Rayavarapu Punnayya & Another

Authored by Ishaanvi

Keywords: IPC, culpable homicide, section 299.

Name of the case: State Of Andhra Pradesh vs Rayavarapu Punnayya & Another

Equivalent citation: 1977 AIR 45, 1977 SCR (1) 601

Name of the parties: Petitioner:

State of Andhra Pradesh



Rayavarapu Punnayya & Another

Name of the court: The Supreme Court

Bench in the court: Sarkaria, Ranjit Singh, Fazal Ali, Syed Murtaza


This case is related to the section 299 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with the concept of culpable homicide. This analysis discusses various aspects of the case such as the background of the case, facts, issues, judgment, and finally the concept highlighted.


According to section 299, Whom so ever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury that’s likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that he’s likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide. To constitute culpable homicide, the following ingredients have to be fulfilled:

(i) a death of a person (must)

(ii) It should’ve been caused by the act of another person

(iii) The death must’ve been caused

(a) with the intention of causing death or

(b) with the intention of causing such bodily injury that’s likely to cause death or

(c) with the knowledge that by his act a death may occur

Background of the case

In this case, it was said that if a person is suffering from enlarged spleen or any other kind of infirmity, the accused will be liable to cause death even if he administers a few kicks and blows, if he’s aware of the special conditions. This section is applied in case of bodily injury that accelerates death.

Facts of the case

In the panchayat elections of Andhra Pradesh, 1954, a clash took place between two political rivalry parties. One of the members of the opposition party was murdered. Accordingly, nine members of the other party were accused of that murder. More incidents between the parties occurred and subsequently, a punitive police force was stationed in that area to maintain peace. In order to devise protective measures against the onslaughts of their opponents, the deceased (leader of another political party) held a meeting at his house, wherein they resolved to defend themselves against the aggressive actions of the respondents and their party-members. One of his men owned a cattle shed. However, the passage to the shed was blocked by the opponent party. The deceased along with his man filed a report in the nearby police station.

On 23 July, 1968, the deceased along with his 2 men boarded a bus for a place. After a few minutes, 5 accused men boarded the same bus and at a right moment, they started beating him with sticks mercilessly until he became unconscious. The deceased was then taken to a hospital by his companion. The doctors found 19 serious injuries in his body. He then passed on the information to the Judicial Magistrate.

Issues of the case

The issue that arises is whether the offence revealed by the facts and circumstances established by the prosecution against the respondent, is 'murder' or 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder'.


The trial Judge convicted 2 of the 5 accused men under section 301 as well as under section 302 read with section 34, penal code and sentenced each of them to imprisonment for life. Later on, the High Court altered their conviction to one under section304, Pt. II, Penal Code and reduced their sentence to 'five years rigorous imprisonment, each.

The trial Court had convicted the respondent with the offence of murder. It applied the rule that was applicable in Virsa Singh's case (supra) and the ratio of Anda and Ors vs. Rajasthan and held that the case was clearly covered by clause Third of section 300. The High Court disagreed with the trial Court and held that the offence was not murder but one under section 304 (part 2).

The High Court concluded on the grounds of the following reasons:

• It was an impulsive act and there was no premeditation in the attack.

• All of the 21 injuries were on the arms and legs and not on the head or any other vital part of the body.

• There must be some bleeding but not heavy haemorrhage.

• The death was due to shock and not due to the injuries. One of the pieces of evidence supported this statement.

• The accused might not be aware that this act could result in the death of the person. Thus, the offence is culpable homicide under section 299 of IPC and punished under section 304, II part, and not murder.

Concept Highlighted

As per the IPC, murder is a part of the culpable homicide. Every murder is a culpable homicide but not vice-versa. There are 3 degrees of culpable homicide. The first degree is defined under section 300, second degree under section 304 (part 1) and the third degree under section 304 (part 2).


This is a type of case where a court is confronted with a question whether the offence is murder or culpable homicide. This can be solved by three questions: 1.Whether the accused has done an act by doing which he has caused the death of another. 2. Whether this act amounts to culpable homicide as per section 299. 3. Whether the facts proved by the prosecution bring the case within the ambit of any of the four clauses of the definition of 'murder' as per section 300.